Worried about your child's future?
Worry not! As far as the Conservative Party of Canada is concerned, thanks to Stephen Harper, "things look a lot better now than they have in a long time" for the nation's young people!
That's what the Conservatives' Chief Operating Officer (and "proud father") Simon Thompson had to say in a recent fundraising e-mail to Conservative supporters, explaining that the "proven leadership" of Harper has put the nation's jittery youth at ease by instilling "reason for optimism":
But is this "optimism" really "proven"? Let's take a closer look:
1. "What will I do after graduation?"
While Canada's youth unemployment rate has been stuck above 13% since the 2008 economic meltdown, another 29% of youth are underemployed. And CIBC recently announced job quality in Canada reached a 25 year low under Stephen Harper's leadership, with temporary, low-paying and part-time work becoming the new normal.
A poll commissioned by the Broadbent Institute last year found Canadian parents and their children are equally jittery about the future -- half of baby boomers said they think their kids' economic opportunities will be worse than their own while over half of millennials said they expect precarious jobs in their future.
Of course, if your dad is a Conservative insider, you can always use your connections to gain experience by working for free, as the Governor of the Bank of Canada recently advised young people.
2. "The college & university dorms have emptied out for the summer." Now what!?
Assuming they can afford to stay in a dorm (living expenses can add tens of thousands to students' debt loads, so many simply live at home), his anxiety about the summer job hunt is understandable:
- According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate for full time returning students last July was 15.6%, and over 17% for men.
- This year, Canada’s youth unemployment rate climbed to 13.6% in April and, in the month most students were busy studying for exams, the economy shed 13,200 prospective youth jobs.
- Last summer, nearly half a million Canadian youths looked but could not find a job. And it's been pretty bad for the last six summers in a row:
3. Is it really a "reason for optimism"?
Three problems, though:
- What Harper doesn't tell you about the million jobs he's created is many of them are temporary jobs. In 2014, Canada created over a hundred thousand temporary jobs, but only 32,000 permanent jobs.
- The number of jobs created is not keeping pace with population growth. While Canada added over a 138,000 jobs, there were 304,000 people who joined the workforce (many of them recent graduates).
- In January, the percentage of Canadians participating in the workforce shrank to its lower level in 14 years.
Stephen Harper's "proven" something alright -- the only question is what?